Another fast and easy Summer dinner. I have lots of sweet basil in my garden at the moment begging to be used, and, there is nothing better than pesto slathered liberally on chicken. Pesto is a precious ingredient in the wintertime, and I use my frozen supply very thoughtfully. However, when it is growing like a weed in the garden I think nothing of having it on toast for breakfast!
Another thing I go weak for is fingerling potatoes. I love their little size and the fantastic colors they come in.
This dish is great if a bunch of people are coming over. You can make a big batch of potatoes on one tray, and chicken on another, and you have easy delicious food made with no trouble at all!
You will need: 5 tbs olive oil (not extra virgin), 8 thigh cutlets, trimmed of excess fat, 3 lbs fingerling potatoes, washed and dried, 2 cups basil leaves, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbs Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven 425*
1 – Put potatoes in a bowl and add 3 tbs oil and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper to season. Mix together until everything is well coated. In another bowl mix together the chicken and 2 tbs olive oil. Season with salt and pepper
2 – When oven is nearly up to temperature drizzle a baking sheet (large enough to hold the chicken and potatoes in a single layer) with a thin coating of olive oil and place on shelf in the lower third of your oven. Leave it for 4 minutes so it gets nice and hot. Remove from oven and add the chicken and potatoes. Place in oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven, turn everything and place in oven for 10 more minutes. Remove the chicken and put on plate, and tent with foil. Test the potatoes by sticking a knife in the center. If it goes in very easily, they are done. If not, place back in oven for another 5 minutes.
While dinner is cooking in oven, make pesto:
1 – Put basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic into food processor. Blend until roughly chopped. Scrape sides of bowl and turn back on and pour extra-virgin olive oil in steady stream through funnel. Add cheese and pulse very quickly. Taste and add salt if necessary.
To serve: Put chicken and potatoes on a warm plate and spoon pesto over chicken. Alternatively, you could put everything on a big platter, make a big salad, and place on the center of the table, and let everyone help themselves.